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Shhh, Metra Explores ‘Quiet Cars’

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Metra locomotive (CBS File Photo)

Metra locomotive (CBS File Photo)

roberts250 Bob Roberts
Bob Roberts is a native of Wilmette who has worked in Chicago media...
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CHICAGO (WBBM) – Metra has told its riders it is willing to consider “quiet cars,” in which cell phone calls and loud conversations would be banned.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Bob Roberts Reports


It’s asking riders for comment. But one Metra board member wonders whether riders have all of the facts, or even the right questions.

“This is not a costless engagement to undertake,” said board member James Dodge, who said segregating riders on the basis of peace and quiet could create unintended problems.

“Did we present this as a choice? If we do quiet cars for example, you may have some crowding on other cars or some enforcement issues,” he said.

Metra sought out the comment through its “On the Bilevel” passenger newsletter, a request filled with a bit of reticence and a lot of questions.

Among the questions it asks: Should it be the first car on the train? The last car? The middle car? What if you’re a regular with a group of friends and all of the sudden your car becomes the quiet car?

Dodge said it’s one thing to pepper riders with questions but another to do it in a way that will generate meaningful input.

“I just want to make sure as we start setting the policies and making changes that (while) I really value the customer input — let me be clear on that one — let’s make sure that, going forward, we are asking the right questions as well to balance the input,” he said.

The request in “On the Bilevel” notes that to date, no one has urged the CTA to adopt quiet cars. It asks, “Why is that?”

Metra has given no timetable for a decision.

CHICAGO (WBBM) – Metra has told its riders it is willing to consider “quiet cars,” in which cell phone calls and loud conversations would be banned. 

It’s asking riders for comment.  But one Metra board member wonders whether riders have all of the facts, or even the right questions.

“This is not a costless engagement to undertake,” said board member James Dodge, who said segregating riders on the basis of peace and quiet could create unintended problems.

“Did we present this as a choice?  If we do quiet cars for example, you may have some crowding on other cars or some enforcement issues,” he said.

Metra sought out the comment through its “On the Bilevel” passenger newsletter, a request filled with a bit of reticence and a lot of questions.

Among the questions it asks: Should it be the first car on the train?  The last car?  The middle car?  What if you’re a regular with a group of friends and all of the sudden your car becomes the quiet car?

Dodge said it’s one thing to pepper riders with questions but another to do it in a way that will generate meaningful input.

“I just want to make sure as we start setting the policies and making changes that (while) I really value the customer input — let me be clear on that one — let’s make sure that, going forward, we are asking the right questions as well to balance the input,” he said.

The request in “On the Bilevel” notes that to date, no one has urged the CTA to adopt quiet cars.  It asks, “Why is that?”

Metra has given no timetable for a decision.

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